The Imperial Infantryman’s Handbook by Graham McNeill and Matt Ralphs. Book review

infantryTHE IMPERIAL INFANTRYMAN’S HANDBOOK by Graham McNeill and Matt Ralphs, The Black Library, H/B, £17.99

Reviewed by Steve Dean

This slim format book contains the Imperial Infantryman’s Uplifting Primer and the Imperial Munitorum Manual, previously available separately, as well as a small selection of prayers for the solider in need.

The Imperial Munitorum Manual starts us off. This has nine sections, covering such things as the history of the department, an example of regimental raising and structure, in this case the Cadian 91st, the requisitioning of equipment, the proper use of this equipment and what to do if you break or lose it. (Don’t admit it would be my advice!) And some forms to fill in for all of the above. There is also some very good advice about not being rude to the Munitorium staff.

The Imperial Infantryman’s Uplifting Primer has six chapters covering everything the soldier needs to function and hopefully stay alive. There are section on regulations, equipment recognition, tactics, medical advice, and most importantly, enemy recognition.

And finally we have the section on prayers to the Emperor when things go pear-shaped. My favourite is Incantation for the Maimed, I lost a limb, but I gained faith. For I survived! Count your blessings, that’s what I say.

Throughout, there are some one-page monochrome illustrations, some simple line drawings, and some funny, deliberately amateur sketches of tactical situations.

Overall, it’s well executed, (pardon the pun) by turns humorous and horrifying, in that you could see this being a real document. This is the sort of thing you would expect the upper-class officers to come up with during the first world war.

This is an interesting volume, full of detail and tiny writing, but really only for fans of Warhammer 40k. The biggest turn off for me is the price. 18 quid for what is essentially a pocket diary is massively overpriced. If you do buy it, please carry it in the pocket over your heart, so that, in time honoured tradition, it can stop the bullet that would have killed you.